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Monday, March 20, 2017

Story Element Surprise

A couple weeks ago we had a professional development day at school.  My reading specialist did a training on some things we could do to help our students make predictions, think through the elements of a story, and to make connections between self and text.

One of the things she showed us was to take bits of lines from books.  Without looking at the book, students will think about the line from the book and decide what story element they think it might be (characters, setting, problem, and solution).  This is a way to think about what the story elements sound like and also to make predictions about the story.

Many of the teachers really liked this activity and thought that it could be used in the classroom with their students. I wondered if my kindergarten kiddos could handle this activity. I wasn't sure if they knew enough about those story elements to sort the lines from the book and I wondered if they would be able to complete the activity orally, being that they couldn't really read the lines from the book.

Well, they blew me out of the water!  I took bits of lines from the book Leprechaun on the Loose for St. Patrick's Day.  I gave them the following lines, each one on it's own sticky note:

Mrs. Yoder
the classroom
leprechaun trap
green footprints
a leprechaun was loose in the classroom
fish tank
the leprechaun whispered in his ear
juice went everywhere
It was just what he needed to save the party
Sidney was caught inside

I read each line and then the kids decided where to put each sticky note on the story element chart that we used for the activity.  Here is a picture of the finished product.  If you look closely, you might notice there are check marks on many of the sticky notes.  That means we put that line from the book in the correct spot when we made our predictions. 

This was the third time we had done this activity (the third book we used) and you will notice we only had one in the wrong spot when we made our predictions!  I know! Blew me away!  The first time we tried the activity, we had 7/13 correct, the second time we had 8/10 correct, and this time only one wrong! The kids were so excited and proud of themselves. 

You know you have a great learning activity when the kids ask to do it every day!


  1. Great idea! I think I will try this with my 7th graders. You think they know all the elements by now but they don't always.

  2. This sounds like a great interactive activity! It is also awesome that you are implementing strategies you learn from PD experiences.

  3. How exciting that your kindergarteners could do something complicated. Great Job! No limits to those little kiddos :)